One of the other many reasons why I dislike the month of June, is because on June 25th my mother was born. A month and some days later in July of 2003, mom died due to complications of colon cancer. Instead of celebrating such a day, I am back reliving all the stages of grief in one sitting.
Even years after she died, I’d pick up the phone to give her a call. It was an absentminded gesture, muscle memory really, from talking to her almost every day of my adult life. But on the 25th, I miss her differently. I call up anger and regret and find it hard to see any silver lining or hidden blessing. I remember times that I upset her, hurt her deeply, while seeing the surprise in her eyes that I “the diplomat” was the one inflicting the injury. Mom never said a word back to me. Up to this day, even typing these memories. I feel a sense of shame that doesn’t wash all of the times when I showed her how much I loved and admired her.
Daily I miss her in the most primal of ways, as if from my “lizard brain,” as a friend likes to say. I want mom here just as my girls want me: To find things, to vent, to confide in, to grab that mug they are too lazy to get, to chat and laugh, to share some chisme and for dancing.
Regret is a complicated word. “I regret to inform you,” never comes with good news. “Regrets only” means someone doesn’t really want you there; they expect some sort of turnover. “Send my regrets” means you’re too chickenshit to engage in direct communication. “Live your life without regrets” could mean all that carpe diem stuff, but also that you’re a selfish idiot who won’t say sorry or please and thank you.
So even when I had no control over my mother’s death, I am filled with regret for my daughter’s life without their vivacious grandmother. I regret that they won’t benefit from the impressive boyfriend bullshit detector she was. “Why do you always have to date all those weirdos?” She was however respectful and quick to say “Get over it, live your life, that’s the best revenge.” I am sure she lived her life with regrets, but she was starting to make up for most. She traveled, supported her daughters always and went back to school to get an education that ultimately landed her a dream job. She was the most deserving woman of anything good who I have ever met. Stupid cancer.
I don’t miss mom at night, like when kids want to cuddle. She wasn’t a cuddling mother. I want her like a lost kid in a busy international airport without knowing what to do next. I don’t want a cuddle, or bedtime story, or there, there. I want to be found. I just want my mommy.